MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Alabama chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following response after the Alabama House Local Legislation Committee voted to advance HB 535 and HB 563, two bills that would expand Alabama’s existing Stand Your Ground law in specific counties to explicitly allow any person to use deadly force when members of a religious group perceive a physical threat, even in cases where deadly force is clearly not necessary.
“Time and time again, Stand Your Ground laws have been associated with an increase in gun violence,” said Dana Ellis, volunteer leader with the Alabama chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Expanding such a dangerous law is not the solution we need to protect faith communities in Alabama. I urge lawmakers to see these bills as the threat to public safety that they are.”
HB 535, which would affect Shelby County, passed yesterday and HB 563, which would affect Chilton County, passed today. The bills are two of several similar constitutional amendments being considered by the legislature that would further expand Stand Your Ground in specific counties. Two such bills, HB 461 and HB 536, which would affect Lauderdale County and Franklin County, have passed the Alabama House and are eligible to be heard in the Senate. Further, these bills would allow members of a religious group to justify the use of deadly force even when they are not actually on the grounds of a place of worship.
Alabama already has one of the most expansive Stand Your Ground laws in the country. Stand Your Ground laws are inherently dangerous — at least 30 people are killed each month nationwide as a result of Stand Your Ground laws. These laws also have a disproportionate impact on communities of color. These extreme additions to Alabama’s Stand Your Ground law would encourage people to shoot first and ask questions later and would put communities of color at greater risk.